MyMedicare: benefits and tax traps

3 minute read

How the voluntary patient registration model intersects with practices’ tax obligations is still not clear.

Australia’s new MyMedicare voluntary registration model aims to strengthen the relationship between patients and their providers, with the 2023-24 Budget committing $19.7 million in the program over four years and a further $39.8 million to support systems delivery through Services Australia.

Eligibility for practices and providers

To be eligible for MyMedicare, a general practice must:

  • provide Medicare-funded services
  • be registered with Provider Digital Access (PRODA), the Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) and the Organisation Register
  • have at least one eligible provider linked to the practice in the Organisation Register – providers can includer GP registrars, vocationally registered and non-vocationally registered doctors
  • be an accredited practice.

To be eligible for MyMedicare, providers must:

  • work at a MyMedicare-registered practice
  • be linked to the practice on the Organisation Register
  • have a valid Medicare provider number.

Benefits for practices

MyMedicare-registered practices will have access to more information about regular patients, longer MBS telehealth consultations linked to MyMedicare, new blended funding payments to support those with complex, chronic diseases who frequently attend hospitals and chronic disease management items limed to a patient’s registration from November 2024.

Registered practices will also have access to the aged care incentive to support health assessments, care plans and regular GP visits in residential age care homes.

Registered practices that provide services to patients who would benefit from the new MyMedicare-linked MBS telehealth consultations or provide care to people in residential care are encouraged to register in MyMedicare as a priority over the next three months.

How does this work with payroll tax?

The federal government still does not seem to have received the message about the current issues surrounding payroll tax and general practice.

While practices are all being told not to refer to doctors as working at the practice, as this language makes them look more like employees whose income incurs payroll tax, the MyMedicare site clearly notes that to be eligible for My Medicare, providers “must work at a MyMedicare-eligible practice”. The mixed messages from different levels of government only add to the confusion practice owners face.

A key element of the payroll tax debate has been around the ownership of patients and the recommendation that patient records be “owned” by the doctor or at least “not owned” by the practice. With the requirement for patients to register with a practice to be eligible for MyMedicare, will this influence the argument around payroll tax? This is still yet to be seen.

The argument for payroll tax liability is that by registering at a practice, a patient is clearly not choosing a doctor but the practice. The argument against is that this is merely a registration process required by the Commonwealth to allow practitioners practising from the site to be able to access additional billing items available under Medicare.

Ultimately, the impact of My Medicare and its impact on the payroll tax issues is still being worked through. We will continue to monitor this program and the payroll tax debate and provide clients with information as it becomes available.

Paul Copeland is William Buck director of business advisory.

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